Like Breathing (Sigh) (Gulp)
Several years ago, upon assessing the end of the second Iraq War, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson quoted historian Andrew Bacevich who observed that one casualty of the conflict was...
Washington's decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.
Wigg-Stevenson then put forth a searing challenge:
A resignation to perpetual war is unacceptable to those who look for the kingdom of God. Nations are not meant to war with each other. Some conflict between them may be inevitable in the current fallen age, but it is not their purpose. A country whose permanent condition is war is therefore a country for which something has gone profoundly wrong. This should lead Christians into a wholesale re-evaluation of the American conception of the national interest. If 'war has become the normal condition,' and we desire the ability to project American power over any square inch of the globe at a moment's notice, do our ambitions not exceed the scope that God permits for a nation? Human history...has not been kind to those who thought to stand in God's place astride creation.
Is there any part of us, our humanity, our Christianity, that is startled or bothered or confronted by any part of this, by the violence in particular?
Or is war or war-making or its violence just some rhetorical noise within the theater of politics as usual?
In what do we ultimately hope?
And aren't there better uses for our best human and relational energies?
Or do we think that God will just forget about all this, about the violence in particular?
Has he ever forgiven the unrepentant?